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Lifestyle Author: June M. Lay, Lifestyle Columnist - Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Go Vegetarian for Meatless Mondays!

By June M. Lay, Lifestyle Columnist -
Jul 6, 2013 - 10:07:38 AM

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( - Let's "Go Vegetarian" for at least one day a week that is, and we can start by choosing to go meat-free on Mondays!  I like to suggest this because choosing to eat vegetarian one day a week is an easy way to develop the habit of eating more plant foods on a regular basis. Eating more of these foods will provide multi- health benefits.

In fact, The American Institute for Cancer Research has this to say: "The discovery of phytochemical-protective substances in food is relatively new. Each phytochemical seems to have a unique role in cancer protection. Each vegetable and fruit has its own profile of "phytochemicals". I'd like to add that each phyto works synergistically with others to give the multi-benefits science has shown in whole plant foods. Plants themselves have survived thousands of years fighting off pests due to these compounds.

I'll say it again, "Go Vegetarian for Meatless Monday's" to start! Why Mondays?     Meatless Monday is a flourishing, international movement that benefits human health, animal welfare and the environment. The movement was started in 2003 by "The Monday Campaigns" and the "Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health" to promote cutting out meat one day a week for our health and the health of the planet. I'd like to add we can also save millions of animals each year from lifelong pain and slaughter.

This month "The Humane Society of the United States" is holding a Meatless Monday Recipe Contest from June 27 through July 31, just scroll down for details how to enter and of course the prizes! Need more reasons to go meatless one day a week?       Well, these foods provide most of the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and complex carbohydrates that we need for energy and that we need to fight disease. By eating the healthy complex carbohydrates found in plant foods, our body can spend all its energy utilizing the proteins we eat to keep our immune system strong, build and repair tissues and much more. Plant foods are naturally low in fat, high in fiber and they are filling, definitely a weight watcher's friend. Now, before we go further, let me state for the record that an important factor in keeping these foods "high in nutrient density"  and low in calories is to prepare them with a reasonable amount of fat, otherwise they will become "high in caloric density" instead of high nutrient density. When we go vegetarian, we eat foods high in fiber also shown to increase weight loss (there are several reasons for this including "chewing fatigue"). Foods high in fiber also offer us "high volume eating", a very important concept to me when I try to lose without starving!   When we become a vegetarian we will automatically increase our fiber intake. Fiber is only found in plant foods such as whole grain breads, beans, vegetables and fruits, all which are important for healthy bowel functioning. Plant foods have consistently shown to lower the risk for heart disease, endocrine disorders (such as diabetes) and some cancers. Other essential nutrients such as the B vitamins in grains and legumes found primarily in plant foods have shown to play a role in the prevention of heart disease as well.

So, every time we make a salad with a large variety of vegetables such as dark greens with tomatoes, broccoli, red cabbage, carrots, beets, and all our other favorite colors, we're eating an "Arsenal of Cancer Protection" ( A.I.C.R.). Of course, let's not forget that, when we eat plant foods we are eating the healthier fats that they supply, too (There are 2 exceptions, palm oil and coconut oils)! Lastly, there's no better time to start than summertime because when we grill plant foods, they don't form cancer causing compounds.    Ever hear a report stating that phytochemicals are found in steak?   So, how many vegetables have we eaten this week? Not enough? Go Vegetarian for one day a week, and get a great start this month with Meatless Mondays! Scroll down the info for The Humane Society's Meatless Mondays Recipe Contest.

So, I say, let's get creative with more plant -based foods for our health, our environment, animals, and our earth sustainability. And we can look better, leaner and younger to boot!

Here's to Our Health! June M Lay M.S. The Humane Society of the United States is holding a Meatless Monday Recipe Contest from June 27 through July 31. The winning dish will be featured in the November/December issue of All Animals, the bimonthly magazine for HSUS members. It will also be featured on and in our weekly Meatless Monday email. Recipe submissions should be for winter comfort foods and must be original creations using only plant-based ingredients. You can read more about the contest and find the submission form here: June is Lifestyle Columnist at (c) 2013
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